When NOT To Buy A Marketing Product (11-point Checklist)

Let’s call a spade a spade…

There are a ton of internet marketing products out there to buy. A “shit ton” of them (that’s an official number, as of now). Some of them are good. Some of them suck. Many of them contain the same information as another.

Let’s call a spade a spade…

There are a ton of internet marketing products out there to buy. A “shit ton” of them (that’s an official number, as of now). Some of them are good. Some of them suck. Many of them contain the same information as another.

As a person looking to get some guidance and considering buying one of these products, it is harder than EVER to tell the difference. And all too often, you just end up erring on the side of “Meh, they’re all the same, they’re all shit, and I’m not going to buy anything at all.”

Truth is, there ARE good products worth your time out there. But, in order to tell the difference, you need to have some simple guidance on what to look for that immediately rules it out.

So, here it is. 11 points to help you know when NOT to buy somebody’s marketing product.

  1. If the product creator goes out of their way to use photos in front of big houses or fancy cars, run. Chances are, that house or car isn’t even their’s. Besides, just because you can afford an expensive lease on a car doesn’t mean you’re smart for doing it. It just means you’re compensating for something. 😉
  2. If the product sales page is nothing but vagaries mixed in with a ton of Clickbank screenshots, don’t buy it.
  3. If the person is claiming to reveal “secrets” that he discovered, you can safely run the other direction. Truth is, there are no secrets in this business. Today, the value is in experience, perspective, and teaching styles. The chance that a course today will really contain some secret that NOBODY has thought of before is pretty much none.
  4. If their claim to fame is being a “social media expert”, but they only have a few thousand Twitter followers, don’t waste your time. For one, “social media experts” are a dime a dozen. Secondly, their expertise might be something as lame as using software to get more followers. It is an empty follower list, and trust me, their 10K followers on Twitter will probably only warrant about 20-30 clicks if they tweeted out a link, so don’t waste your time.
  5. If there is ANY talk at all of making money with no work… RUN RUN RUN. There is absolutely ZERO chance that you’re going to build up a full-time income stream online (or even close) without working your ass off. People who try to sell based on the idea of not working very much are only feeding into the human desire to do exactly that. But, it doesn’t work.
  6. If the person has no obvious track record of running a real, sustainable business, don’t waste your time. You should be able to look into a person (Google them) and learn about them. If you can’t find anything at all, then that’s a huge red flag.
  7. If the person only has experience in the “make money” market, that’s a huge red flag. In my view, a person  can’t really do what they say if they can’t make it work in a “regular” market… in other words, something not having to do with making money. (For the record, I was and still am a tech blogger, and was exclusively that for 10 years before I started this blog. 🙂 )
  8. If the person selling the product doesn’t come off as professional, that’s another red flag. Are they a punk kid covered in tattoos and their hat on backwards?
  9. Are they hiding? In other words, do they have obvious and easy ways to contact them? And better yet, when you do contact them, do they REPLY? If not, don’t waste your time.

Now, those are obvious red flags when evaluating some marketing product. But, I’m going to add two more. Both are very important. And they have to do ONLY with you.

  1. Are you up to your eyeballs in debt? If so, don’t buy. The last thing you need to be doing is buying something you cannot afford just because they promise to help you make more money. In fact, it puts you at both a financial and mental disadvantage to buy a product under those circumstances. There’s nothing wrong with using a credit card to buy a marketing product, BUT make damn sure that this is something you can pay off soon. And, if you do have a lot of debt, then double-down and work your ass off and apply the free stuff which is already out there. Get some results, pay off some debt – THEN evaluate whether you want to buy a marketing product to speed things along.
  2. Make sure the product has immediate relevance to you. The last thing you want to do is fall victim to “shiny object syndrome”, where you just start collecting marketing products and stashing files around your hard drive – as if that’s the same as taking action (Hint: It isn’t.) You should be bringing your OWN goals to the table, and see how a particular product will help you get there.

On that last point, here’s an analogy I like…

A marketing product is like a compass. It shows the direction. But, it is still up to you to do the walking. (click to tweet this)

Buy smart.


  1. Hey David, 1st signed up for your blogging challenge as I’ve been neglecting a couple of mine since that nasty little penguin came visiting. 🙂

    2nd, a great list, I think the more a product was designed around an actual business model the more validity I’d see in it. I’m smart enough to know that a great copywriter can have me clicking “buy now” even when it may not be something I actually want so I’ve been avoiding the new launches lately and focusing on my business instead.

  2. Awesome post, as always!  That is a great list.  I’ve said it before but i will say it again.  I wish I had met you years before I did!  Would’ve saved me some hassles. 

  3. A good rule of thumb is to work completely thru a course before buying another one.  Otherwise it’s too easy to drop one shiny object for the next.

    I love the “big car and/or house in the background”.

    Great gutsy post as always.

    1. Yep, good point. Truth is, *most* internet marketing courses will get results if a person honestly applies the thing and thinks for themselves. Often, when results aren’t achieved, it is because the person didn’t follow through.

    1. Well, it isn’t about gimmicks. It is just marketing. They know who they’re going after and they know exactly how to hit the right buttons. Its a definite skill. 🙂

      But, all that said, you have to know when you need something and when you don’t. Only you can make that call.

  4. David: Great Post!
    I especially like point 7! There is no shortcut! If you want to be successful it means focus and hard work – in any business.

  5. GREAT article!!! Funny how we were JUST talking about things like this today. Oh and I have purchased a shit ton myself, so know exactly how many you mean by that!!

  6. David:
    Overall I agree with your list.
    Point #8 is not so clear. So many people want to be the casual dude who doesn’t look professional.
    I’m thinking of Frank Kern as an example.
    Even you with your t-shirts is not how I could have dressed when I was in the business world.
    I’m thinking that the person needs to come across as competent. That will be a combination of how they dress, talk, and express themselves.

    1. Good point. Yeah, I’m definitely not saying that a person needs to be a stuffy business dude in a suit. Let’s face it, most online entrepreneurs take pride in the fact we can work in t-shirts and shorts. 🙂

      It is more about behavior. One can act professional and still be wearing shorts and a Nike shirt.

  7. Genius, Dave. A perfect message for these times.

    Another thing I’ve noticed (and you may have come dangerously close, although your reputation covers all sins) is that a lot of their pitches discount everyone else’s methods.

    But since yours is a stand alone piece, not necessarily part of a sales pitch, it works.

    Plus, like I said, you do good work, so we know that you’re being genuine and authentic.

Leave a Reply